Really hot mail Replace your newsletter with RSS email from Feedburner

Posted by tom klein May 9, 2008 at 7:27 am


We know it better than anyone else. Creating and sending out an email newsletter is a huge pain.

Luckily, there’s now a free replacement that can turn your blog posts into emails. It’s Feedburner email. It’s so absurdly easy, there’s really very little to tell. Just “burn” your RSS feed using
reliable Feedburner. Once you’ve done this and indicated a desire to enable email delivery, every time your site visitors subscribe, they’re provided the option of subscribing with an RSS reader or by email. You don’t have to do any more work. Your blog posts will be sent as emails to your recipients.

Your can even set it up so your users see a standard looking email signup. They won’t even have to know that you’ve figured out how to deliver email newsletters for free using your RSS feed.

If you’re spending a fortune sending email newsletters, why don’t you just concentrate on creating blog posts and just let your feed handle all of the work for you.

It’s important to know that publishers using Feedburner will also have access to the email addresses that subscribe to their feed. You can export these addresses and move from FeedBurner to another service at any time.

Want to see what this looks like when an email gets delivered. You’ll have your chance as we are converting to this system in short order. The best thing here is the ability to focus on blog posts and avoid a lot of the email hassle, while also letting users receive information in their preferred format. Everyone wins.

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Miracle grow Create multimedia mini-sites or widgets with Sprout

Posted by tom klein April 28, 2008 at 7:00 am


Sometimes the best investment you can make to grow your site traffic doesn’t come from investing in your site at all. It can come from creating a branch of it somewhere else.

You can create a widget or a min-site with a tool like Sprout. This system lets just about anyone create slick looking, dynamic, content-rich widgets or mini-sites. You can include slideshows, jukeboxes, and even web-services like Twitter as sources of data. Sounds impossible, right? Check out these examples to get a better idea of what’s possible. Once you’ve used the drag and drop tools to create what you need, you can simply get the code that you can then put on any website (like a blog or a social networking site).

If you’re looking for a great way to get your customers or fans to spread the word, here’s an easy way to make it happen.

In addition to make it easy to create widgets, this system also tracks statistics - things such as where you sprouts have been placed, how many people have viewed it, and how many click-throughs it has received.

No matter what you’re doing, whether you’re selling stuff or ideas, widgets can be a great way to spread the word. The sooner you stop thinking that everyone is going to come to your site and start realizing that the best way to catch people is on other sites, the better off you’ll be.

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A friend in need... Let customers track your online content with Friendfeed

Posted by tom klein March 24, 2008 at 2:30 am

With so many different places on the web to join, create or upload content, and then share – it’s almost impossible to keep track of everything.

But with Friendfeed, you have an easy way to keep everyone in your circle up to date with your latest Flickr photos, YouTube video, addition to your Facebook profile, and so on. First, you sign up. Then, you invite a friend. Then, this system will import anything that’s been shared from sites across the web. If your friend marks a video as a “favorite” on YouTube, you get a link and a thumbnail of the video in your feed. if your friend indicates that he likes a news story on Digg, you get a link in your feed. While this may be obtrusive for faux / online friends, it’s just right for family members, real friends, or. . . even your brand zealots out there.

If you’re looking for a way to let your most passionate customers follow your brand’s activities online (photos, videos, preferences), here’s a way to let them follow even more closely. For individual driven businesses (musicians, artists, etc), this tool makes a great way to keep your list of fans connected, no matter where you are on the web.

The feed of your activity can be either public or private. If it’s private, you approve every subscription request for your feed, and your activity will not be visible to anyone other than your approved friends. If it’s public, anyone can subscribe to you without requiring approval, and your activity will show up on the FriendFeed homepage.

While many feed readers make it easy to create a custom feed of your likes (either public or private), what’s helpful here is the ability to integrate activities across several different sites. This system supports many different sites, ranging from Amazon to Yelp. (full list)

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Parts is parts Deliver Clearspring in-widget ads to connect to customers

Posted by tom klein March 10, 2008 at 2:30 am

Remember the lowly trading card? If you were a baseball fan, it was a great way to keep up with players, statistics, and just stay connected to the game. Oh, and remember, they were for trading. I’ll give you this Thurman Munson for your Hank Aaron. Widgets are just like that, but they can live anywhere on the web.

Thanks to Clearspring’s widget ad network, sites like NBA.com have figured out that these modern day trading cards (check out all of these NBA widgets) can help fans stay up to date . . . with just about anything – photo highlights, video highlights, statistics, standings, etc. No matter what you’re selling, it pays to think about how you might break up your site content and distribute it.

Also, by delivering both ads and widgets in one little package on sites like Facebook and MySpace, you’ll have the chance to make your widgets value go even further. Give it a try.

These ad-widgets use a peel-back feature that exposes the advertising that lies below your widget. Users just can’t resist looking behind that peeling flap . . . and your ads get exposed to everyone who’s interested in your widget.

There are so many interesting possibilities when you stop think of a web strategy as just what to do with your site. Face it, most people are going to spend more time off your site than on it. You will be much better off thinking of how to reach them when they’re doing what they’re already doing. Widgets are just one example.

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Like my purple hat? Mobile users get feeds by voice with PimpMyNews

Posted by tom klein February 28, 2008 at 2:30 am

Not everyone is hanging out in front of their laptop or desktop. They’re on the move. What good is a blog then?

Just as useful as when you’re at your PC, as it turns out. Thanks to Pimp My News, you can get your favorite blogs delivered by voice. Here’s how it works. Simply visit pimpmynews.com/m on your phone to get to their mobile-based site. Choose a story or a category, and then you’ll receive the feed content (that has been converted to voice) as a downloaded file. It just works, meaning that now you can stay on top of everything from politics to Paris Hilton’s latest antics. You can get more customization (like a personal playlist) by signing up for the service, but feeds are also available if you don’t.

So, how can this help you? Make sure that your feed gets converted by sending an email submission to the service. Then, make sure that your fans know all about it. This system works particularly well on the iPhone (I tried it). It’s a little strange at first, but would be a great way to stay connected with your favorite feeds (Yahoo! News, TechCrunch, Perez Hilton). Or, a great way for your customers to stay connected to your news.

This service takes RSS feeds of blog or website content from around the web, routes it through a text to voice translation software and then just repurposes it for people on the go.

If you don’t have RSS on your site or your blog, you should. It’s the easiest way to make your content accessible to all parts of the web or blogosphere - no matter where they might be.

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